MOOPHONIX RECORDS present the exciting debut album from producer/composer Chris Wells
featuring special guest appearances by
CORO DO BATACOTÔ
MESTRES DA BATERIA DA MANGUEIRA
CASSIANO (da MESTRE AMBRÓSIO)
RECORDED IN RIO, São Paulo, Memphis and London with the finest musicians in each city, blending the beauty of Brazilian melody, harmony and rhythms with the soul of R&B and blues. The highlight is a version of IVAN LINS' "Velas Içadas" performed by the Brazilian icon himself. The 11 original songs feature lyrics by Pedro Casadalma, Mônica Vasconcelos and Valdo Silva. Chris' interest in Brazilian music goes back almost 20 years, involving extensive periods of study both as a percussionist and composer.
THE PROJECT stemmed from Chris' desire as a producer to assemble an album in the manner of Quincy Jones or Sérgio Mendes, whereby several different featured artists would contribute, rather than there being a single voice throughout. Additionally, the intention was for the album to be a showcase for the fruits of the collaborations with the 3 lyricists. "As a composer, this was very important from the outset, and the reason that the songs maintained their Portuguese lyrics, rather than us recording English versions." Having recorded approximately half of the backing tracks, Chris set of for a 3 month spell in Brazil. "I already had a good set of professional contacts from previous visits and meetings in Europe, and the plan was flexible, so as to accommodate any interesting circumstances that might arise during my time there." Immediately following his arrival, there followed a large slice of good fortune in the form of a meeting with Ivan Lins. Ivan is one of the most recorded Brazilian composers of recent times, his songs have been covered by a "who's who" of major league artists; George Benson, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Austin, plus many others, most recently Sting, whose recording of "She Walks This Earth" was a Grammy winner in 2001. "I found out that Ivan was performing in São Paulo the following day, and managed to introduce myself to him after the show. He remembered my name from tapes etc that I had sent via various channels, and had liked our material. Explaining to him what I was doing in Brazil, on the spur of the moment I invited him to participate, and he agreed!" From that instant the project gained momentum. Chris made a contemporary arrangement of one of Ivan's most popular songs, "Velas Içadas", which he loved. "For me Velas had a special significance, in that it was the first song of Ivan's that I heard, recorded on Quincy Jones' album "The Dude", and from that point on his music would have a huge influence on me."
Recognising the importance of bringing something new to the sound, Chris then set off for Memphis to cut some tracks with long-time collaborator Charlie Wood. "I always knew I ran the risk of being accused of jumping on the "world music/latin" bandwagon, despite having been involved in this music from a young age, plus I also wanted to incorporate my other musical influences, namely R&B, soul and blues, so utilising Charlie's talents seemed a logical move." Throughout the recording process one priority was to capture some great performances by encouraging the artists to bring their own personality to the tracks. "This was something I learnt from an interview Quincy Jones made concerning the recording of Michael Jackson's "Thriller", and particularly applied to the sessions with Charlie. He had never had any previous contact with Brazilian music but I was always confident that the experiment would work, simply because no matter where you are in the world, SWING IS SWING!"
THE MUSICIANS involved in the recording have between them the most incredible combined curriculum vitae imaginable. Téo Lima is one of the most influential drummers in MPB (música popular brasileira) and has performed with every major artist in Brazil, both in concert and on innumerous platinum recordings. Currently musical director for Ivan Lins, Téo made his name as drummer for superstar Djavan, later going on to work with Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Ed Motta, Sérgio Mendes, Dionne Warwick, Toots Thielemans. Also part of Djavan's band was Sizão Machado, regarded as one of Brazil's finest bassists, recently recording with Randy Brecker. Hammond guru Charlie Wood has been voted Premier Keyboard Player in Memphis every year since 1997 as part of the N.A.R.A.S. Premier Player Awards, and was formally organist with Albert King. Webster Santos was previously guitarist for Chico César. Sérgio Cassiano is one of the founder members of the group Mestre Ambrósio, a band at the forefront of the revival of folkloric music in Brazil, particularly that from the northeast of the country. Signed to Sony Brasil the group plays to packed houses all over the world. Also recruited were 2 of the "mestres" of the percussion section from the most famous of Rio's Escolas de Samba, Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Of the British contingent, both Julian Jackson and John Parricelli have been featured on recent Oscar winning soundtracks ("The Full Monty" and "Shakespeare in Love" respectively), while Adrian Revell performed with Jamiroquai on 3 world tours.
CHRIS WELLS has recorded and performed throughout Europe with Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Carla Bley & Steve Swallow, Robert Plant, Andy Sheppard, Randy Brecker, Nelson Rangell, John Harle, Charlie Wood, Karl Jenkins, London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal National Theatre as well as on numerous film soundtracks, television and radio broadcasts. His playing was featured on Jim Lampi's latest CD, with John Martyn and Marie Claire Dublado. He has also recently worked with Daúde, Clara Moreno, As Meninas, Mônica Vasconcelos, (with whom he opened Gilberto Gil's London concert at the Barbican). As a composer, he was awarded 3rd place and Highly Commended in the Latin and World Music sections respectively of the 1997 UNISONG International Song Contest for the songs Samba da Ponte & Atabaque.